Managing upland vegetation as a mitigation strategy for climate change impacts on prairie-pothole wetlands

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The goal of this research is to increase knowledge of climate change effects on prairie-pothole wetlands and their ability to provide habitat to breeding waterfowl, and to identify potential upland management strategies with the potential to mitigate negative effects. Wetland simulation models suggest that climate change may result in increased drying of prairie-pothole wetlands as increased evapotranspiration associated with warmer temperatures outpace increases in precipitation. Resultant effects include reduced water depths and volumes, and shorter hydroperiods with seasonal wetlands being most vulnerable. In this effort, we performed an in-depth literature review of climate-change effects on wetland ecosystems and upland management techniques with potential to mitigate identified effects. We also completed a field study in which uplands surrounding 12 prairie-pothole wetlands received burning, grazing, and control treatments.  The literature review was published as a USGS Scientific Investigations Report.  Results of this study can be used to inform upland management decisions made by land managers in efforts directed at influencing water levels in prairie-pothole wetlands.